The beautiful and fashionable are to be found at Bodrum, on the balmy south-west coast of Turkey.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kate Moss are just some of the celebrities who have given Bodrum a reputation to rival St Tropez. The combination of its natural beauty, glorious coves and rich history together with its vibrant nightlife, makes it popular with many visitors and holiday-homeowners.
Although Bodrum attracts the style conscious, it also boasts a laid-back vibe that people fall in love with. There’s a marina full of beautiful yachts, ancient sites for wandering round and photogenic old whitewashed houses.
Sightseeing – a firm favourite with tourists is the Castle of St Peter located at Kale Sokak. During the reign of the Ottoman sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, the castle was given to Turkey and a mosque was built inside. Today many of the vast halls inside the castle display the exhibits of Bodrum's Museum of Underwater Archaeology. This must-see museum has a range of dazzling artifacts including the Glass Wreck Hall displaying a 16 m ship that sunk in 1025 AD. Yachting is a favourite pastime in Bodrum and the marina is crammed with yachts offering excursion day trips to visit islands and hidden coves.
Beaches - the best beaches are just outside of the centre of Bodrum. These include Ortakent, Yalikavak, Gumusluk, and Bagla.
Ortakent is backed by market gardens and offers a great option for a family holiday with older children. The beach offers a range of watersports, from wake-boarding to kayaking and sailing. The Bodrum peninsula is scattered with picturesque coves and bays so it is worth hiring a boat to find your very own secret beach.
Shopping - shopaholics will fall in love with Bodrum with its vast array of shopping on offer. From top end goods to weekly markets, there is a huge variety to choose from. Bodrum’s Milta Marina Shopping Centre is to the west of Bodrum Castle stacked with an array of designer clothes. If your purse strings won’t stretch to the real thing, Bodrum Market is the place to head for fake designer wear, and in fact, a recent report said that Kate Moss paid a visit to one of the markets specializing in leather goods known as ‘super-fakes’ because they are so carefully made to look like the real thing. For stylish boutiques, try the Old Town just behind the Castle of St Peter.
Dining - with the Turkish economy booming, dining out is big business. To witness the burst of spending by the country's rich, take a visit to Türkbükü, on the north side of the peninsula above Bodrum. There are plenty of ultra-chic waterfront restaurants to choose from before it turns into a high-energy nightspot. A truly idyllic spot is the Kocadon Restaurant, set in a pretty cobblestone courtyard. In the evening, it is lit up with candles and lanterns.
For a more hippie vibe, visit the Limon Café for simple, delicious Turkish food in a rural setting with great views. No visit to Turkey is complete without eating a kebab, and the best place to head is the strip of cafés along Bodrum Town’s waterfront.
Partying - nightlife lovers will be delighted with the vast array of clubs that Bodrum offers. For the more discerning visitor, try the open-air supper club and celebrity haunt Halikarnas with the restaurant designed by Jade Jagger.
Indulging - the LifeCo spa, on the north coast of the Bodrum peninsula, has long been popular with celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Kelly Brook and John Galliano. Recently, Sadie Frost, Kate Moss and the Primrose Hill set visited this famous detox center. If the seven-day cleanse and juice-fast programme seems slightly too tough a regime, check out the five-star Kempinski Barbaros Bay, a rarefied and supremely quiet retreat 20 minutes from the town of Bodrum. Whether you want to sample a traditional Turkish hammam experience or indulge with a facial or massage, there are more than 50 treatment options available.
Need to know
- You will need a visa before entering Turkey. It’s very simple to do online and for a cost of $20 or equivalent currency you can get a 90 days multi-entry visa. For more info visit https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/
- During the summer months, it is worth pre-booking trips because it can get very busy.
- To get to one of the gorgeous seaside villages that surround Bodrum, head to the Otogar where Dolmus [minibus] depart regularly.